Gehlot is Rajasthan CM, Sachin His Deputy as Rahul Gandhi Opts For Old Fighter, Not New Pilot
Ashok Gehlot, who was in competition with Rajasthan unit chief Sachin Pilot to be CM, faced serious opposition in the race to the CM's post in 1998 and 2008 as well. However, he emerged the winner then as well.
New Delhi: Shortly after a beaming Rahul Gandhi appeared in front of camerapersons with an equally beaming Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot standing on either side of him presenting a united picture, the matter of chief ministership had been decided.
Veteran leader Ashok Gehlot was named the chief minister and Sachin Pilot was given the charge of his deputy.
In much the same fashion on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi appeared arm-in-arm with Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath as his brave warriors and settled the question of leadership in Madhya Pradesh.
After Congress' observer to the state K C Venugopal made the announcement at a media briefing, Gehlot thanked Gandhi for giving him an opportunity to serve the people of the state for the third time and promised that he and Pilot will provide "good governance".
Pilot exuded confidence that Congress' good electoral performance will continue, saying the party will get a big mandate in 2019 polls and form the government.
"Mera aur Ashok Gehlot ji ka jaadu puri tarah chal gaya hai (Gehlot and I worked our magic in the state)," Pilot said.
The Congress went from 21 seats against the BJP's 163 in 2013 to getting 99 seats (plus one of the Rashtriya Lok Dal) in the assembly elections the votes for which were counted on Tuesday.
Pilot said the party's manifesto will be implemented immediately.
"We will meet the governor today and will decide on the details of the oath-taking ceremony," Venugopal said.
The Congress had been under increasing pressure both from the opposition and within the party ranks to declare its chief minister in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Ashok Gehlot, who was in competition with Rajasthan unit chief Sachin Pilot to be CM, faced serious opposition in the race to the CM's post in 1998 and 2008 as well, with Jat leaders in the Congress opposing him. On both occasions, he overcame the opposition to be named by the Congress as the chief minister.
This time, however, the challenge from Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot has been tougher.
After the jockeying for power since the results of the December 7 assembly polls came in on Tuesday, the Congress picked him over Pilot on Friday afternoon to head the state government.
The Congress won 99 seats out of the 199 where polling was held on December 7.
After meetings in Jaipur between the MLAs and the AICC office bearers in Jaipur on Wednesday, the deliberations shifted to Delhi, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi meeting both contenders and other senior leaders.
Sachin Pilot's supporters from his Gurjar community held a series of protests, blocking roads in Rajasthan, on Thursday when it appeared that the announcement naming Gehlot was imminent. Both Gehlot and Pilot appealed to their supporters to maintain calm.